If Interested in a Free Service, then Don’t Promote it?


Half the work that is done in this world
is to make things appear what they are not
~Beadle, E. R.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic
~Arthur C. Clarke’s 3d Law of Prediction)

But magic can sometimes just be an illusion

Belief in the absence of illusions is itself an illusion
~Barbara Harrison

A hallucination is a fact, not an error;
what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it
~Bertrand Russell   


       So, after a storm of angry publications by unhappy webmasters and uninstalls of KeyCAPTCHA plugings, on August 14, 2011, KeyCAPTCHA.com “announced” (by posting a few replies, for example here and there) that the free of charge option of its  service was restored from August 8, 2011 (probably because the last post of KeyCAPTCHA defending its removal was from August 7, 2011, see the same links upward). Novosibirsk time (GMT +6:00)  everywhere in this article.

The most funny thing was that there were no changes in ToS or any descriptions on keycaptcha.com webite whatsoever!

Update: And still, up to 08/19/2011, there is no description of and how to use free KeyCAPTCHA service without advertising but only how to earn the free money, to be paid for your protection  or to freely interact with ads !

Taking into account the previous “well-proved” and adamant opinion by KeyCAPTCHA Team that it has all the rights to remove free captchas served without any advertising, one would wonder – what would prohibit to remove it, and  again without any notice to webmasters in the future?

Catch-22: Why was KeyCAPTCHA’s free option declared to be back?

In Soviet Russia, spam-captchas block humans from its spam activity

In Soviet Russia, spam-captchas block humans from its spam activity

Well, the restoring of a completely free-option automatically converted claims of KeyCAPTCHA.com website about 15, 000 websites protected by KeyCAPTCHA and available to advertisers  into lie.

This is catch-22 situation:
KeyCAPTCHA does not have a lot of  advertisers and need big and diverse user’s base to draw them more and to keep the old ones.

But the most web resources (blogs, forums, file shares, etc.) are not very popular to repel its own visitors by intrusive advertising.

Anyway, it is not web masters or end-users (visitors) of website who forced KetCAPTCHA to temporarily restore its free service. The main influx of users are from published on main PHP CMS website

KeyCAPTCHA plugin-s (aka contribution, project, add-on, modification, Mod, extension) and those websites, even of commercial CMS, explicitly prohibit commercial contributions without completely  free working versions without restrictions  For example, here is an excerpt from vBulleting.org’s Commercial/Paid Modifications rules:

     Discussion of commercial modifications is permitted on the forums at vBulletin.org as long as they are discussed with no promotion. Any promotional threads will be closed and/or deleted on sight.

  1. Promotion of commercial modifications is not allowed.
  2. Commercial modification authors are not permitted to create threads regarding their own products or promote their products in any way, shape or form, or to encourage another user to do so.
  3. Lite versions of commercial modifications are permitted to be released here as long as:
    1. It is a working modification
    2. It is not time limited in any way
    3. It is completely free to the user
    4. It is stand alone and completely separate to the full version
    5. A single link back to the commercial version is permitted, as long as no pricing or promotional language is used in the link or embedded into the lite version.
  4. Add-ons for commercial modifications may be released here providing a free version has been released here and:
    1. It is fully functional
    2. It is not time limited in any way
    3. It is completely free to the user
  5. Non commercial vBulletin modifications that integrate independent commercial software into vBulletin are permitted, providing the modification release thread is not created to promote sales of the commercial product. (Independent products are software that can be run without needing vBulletin.)
     The main reason of restoring free service option seems to be that  KeyCAPTCHA extension plug-in unpublished from WordPress.org website – the main provider of publicity and new users for KeyCAPTCHA –  (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/keycaptcha/  was before removal)  on August 10, 2011(Update: restored on 08/16/2011).  And this explains why KeyCAPTCHA.com tries to convince that its free service was restored on August 8, 2011

How long KeyCAPTCHA would continue to have a Free Option?

       My guess, as long as user’s base would continue be very small. As soon as it becomes sufficiently big and poular, KeyCAPTCHA exits from its dependence on webmasters, end-users (visitors), CMS websites contribution publications and necessity to keep it non-purely-commercial.
       If you are interested in free versions (without irritating inescapable advertising) of KeyCAPTCHA service  as longer as possible, do not promote it (i.e. do not blog, mention it in posts, etc)!
      Is it general situation that in order to keep services/products free and user-friendly, they should continue depend on users, and for this, should not be too popular?
  1. September 18, 2011 at 16:15

    Preach it my brother.

  2. August 17, 2011 at 01:36

    An fascinating discussion is price comment. I believe that it’s best to write more on this subject, it won’t be a taboo topic but typically people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

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